POSTED Friday, July 20, 2012
Summer Pop-Ups to Watch For
Pop-up restaurants aren’t a new concept, but regardless, we love the fact that aspiring and veteran chefs alike are flying solo with more freedom to experiment in the kitchen. This summer brings an especially impressive roster of pop-up restaurants which have been making their marks on their cities dining scenes across the country.
Here are some of our favorites:
The Vagrancy Project, Los Angeles This abitious project is manned by Chef Miles Thompson, previously from Son of a Gun, and mixologist Nathan Oliver, formerly of Ink. After shuffling between various locations for a few months, the pop-up has finally found a semi-permanent home in Los Angeles’s Echo Park neighborhood where it will operate Mondays and Tuesdays through Labor Day. In addition to an a la carte menu of small and large plates, a five-course prix-fixe menu changes daily.
Eating House, Miami Eating House’s interior isn’t particularly memorable: Furniture is sparse, graffiti artwork hangs on the walls, and the soundtrack is dominated by ‘90s hip-hop. The real attraction is the food. The nightly changing menu includes 12 to 15 plates of food and 3 to 5 desserts. While the line-up doesn’t follow a single cuisine, the commonality is locally sourced ingredients with a whole lot of creativity. Reservations are only accepted during brunch for parties of six or more, so go early or prepare to wait.
Frej, New York Frej (pronounced fray) was opened by Richard Kuo and Fredrik Berselius this past spring. Berselius has tapped into his Scandinavian roots by bringing new Nordic cuisine to this unassuming studio space in Williamsburg. Frej offers possibly one of the best deals in this notoriously expensive city--a five-course tasting menu is available for $45. The reservations-only restaurant has a waiting list for the next two months, so be sure to add your name sooner than later.
Alma, Los Angeles Ari Taymor’s pop-up offers food inspired by the local products that California boasts as well as the rich cultural diversity of Los Angeles. In addition to a personalized tasting menu which is available for $80 a person, an a la carte menu will be available from Tuesday to Saturday. Expect to see creative dishes like a squash blossom beignet with burnt citrus and wild fennel and suckling pig with corn, black garlic, holy basil and maitake mushrooms.
City Grit, New York City Grit is more of a gallery for chefs than a pop-up. The permanent space hosts dinners, organized by chef Sarah Simmons, with visiting culinary talent from around the country. The 70-seat dining room is housed in an old school house in Nolita, outfitted in rustic second-hand finds that are for sale (last time we at there we were admiring an old canoe that hung from the ceiling). Each dinner is ticketed: go to citygritnyc.com to see upcoming series.